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Aug. 13 was a red-letter day for voter suppression and denial of democracy: President Donald “I Vote By Mail” Trump admitted he is undermining the U.S. Postal Service in order to restrict mail-in voting during a raging pandemic he facilitated by his own ineptitude (“Trump admits motive to slow mail,” front page, Aug. 14).

When the coronavirus struck our shores, Trump predicted a miracle and, when proven wrong, declared himself a “war president” fighting “an invisible enemy.” However, the absentee commander just mailed it in and provided no federal plan or leadership. Apparently unable to deliver due to sore feet, he instead left the conduct of the war to the states to address the now-burgeoning pandemic enveloping the country.

After abdicating to the states his duty to protect the health and welfare of the nation, he now invades the constitutional province of the states to conduct federal elections by undercutting their ability to allow their citizens to vote by mail and avoid the dangers presented by the very virus the president has failed to effectively address.

Trump is seeking to undermine the fundamental right to vote: Vote in person and risk your health. He claims people voted during World War II but fails to note they could vote without fear of a viral attack. He further fails to note that our troops in the war voted by mail, the very method he opposes because he fears the votes will be sent with a stamp of disapproval and the resounding message to him: “Do not forward. Return to sender.”

Brad Engdahl, Golden Valley

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I am a conservative. I have always voted Republican. And I am appalled at the actions of Trump. A democracy is a system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body. How can our top leader work to restrict how many Americans can vote, whether it is by mail or in person? It is the essence of our country! I can’t say I would be excited to dump $25 billion into the Post Office since our national debt is already a runaway train, but why would you not give states some funding to try and come up with a safer place to vote in person? He should not be able to subvert our democratic process for, after all, this is still America.

William Wimmer, Ramsey

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On July 31 I received a time-sensitive letter from my mortgage lender via local, first-class mail. It was a week late.

Even though I had paid off my COVID mortgage suspension and my banker said all was well, I was being opted in to more COVID relief. The mail slowdowns caused by Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, left me with four hours to open the letter and opt out before automatic forbearance would have disrupted my pending home refinance and record-low interest rate.

While Minnesotans were voting in this week’s primary, DeJoy was removing mail-sorting machines from USPS facilities in Iowa. DeJoy, a Trump donor, is dismantling our pandemic voting infrastructure. He’s also a shareholder in a USPS contractor and just bought stock options in Amazon. It is hard to imagine bigger conflicts of interest.

Fight now for the USPS before we have an election fiasco like Belarus. In a time of isolation, we need swift commerce and safe voting more than ever.

Cody Bourdot, Minneapolis

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I would like to encourage everyone who relies on the post office for their medications to contact senators and their representative about what is happening. I am currently waiting for my medications. The post office is deliberately changing deliveries, which will affect so many people’s health and our upcoming election.

NANCY KAISER, Blaine

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After thorough training and years of experience, postal workers understand the importance, value and sanctity of first-class mail. It is impossible to understand how a postmaster general could order postal workers to treat first-class mail the same as they treat business advertising from the local grocery store. The printed return envelopes (which require no postage paid by the sender) are clearly marked as first-class mail, and postal workers are smart enough to know how to move that mail expeditiously, regardless of what the postmaster general tells them to do.

William Taylor, Minnetonka

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I would like to comment on funding for the USPS.

First, I want to say that we rural residents rely on the postal system to support the lifestyle that we have chosen.

Second, it seems to me that there are easy solutions to the issue of mail-in ballots being delayed by cost-cutting measures implemented in the U.S. postal system. I spent my engineering career applying “keep it simple” solutions to complex situations. Whatever side of the political spectrum you reside on, please rest assured that every organization is operating in ways that can be improved while saving time, money and resources. Here are a few suggestions that concerned citizens could use to counteract slow delivery of mail-in ballots:

Don’t wait until the last minute to request your mail-in ballot — the virus is not going to disappear before November.

Don’t wait until the last minute to mail your ballot — the number of people who can’t decide if they are voting for Trump or Biden can’t be enough to require a postal worker to work overtime on Nov. 2.

Put your own 55-cent stamp on any emergency ballot mailing that does push the deadline.

Use some of your $1,200 government stimulus money to support the USPS by putting two first-class stamps on all the letters you mail — until they get a handle on their finances. And no, it won’t make them go too fast or too far.

Ronald Geurts, Big Lake, Minn.

COVID RISKS

Control what you can

An Aug. 13 letter writer (regarding “Fitness a critical COVID defense,” Aug. 12) concludes that given results of a recent study, obesity might provide a slight protection from COVID in Minnesota, based on hospitalizations of obese patients for the virus at 28% being less than the 30% state obesity rate. She must be presuming the remaining 72% of those hospitalized evenly reflect the health — and weight — of the state population. In reality, people hospitalized with COVID are likely to have pre-existing conditions like age, heart disease, diabetes — and obesity. Unlike age as a pre-existing condition, obesity can be influenced by diet and exercise (principally diet). So in the interest of inhibiting the spread, and reducing the severity, of infection in this pandemic, mask-wearing, social distancing and exercise all seem reasonable recommendations.

Shannon Leigh, Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS UNREST

The power of local reporting

I appreciated the Aug. 13 article “Tax hitch hinders cleanup from riots” calling attention to administrative roadblocks preventing Minneapolis property owners from demolishing potentially hazardous sites that were damaged in the recent unrest. It was great to see a follow-up article on Friday stating that Mayor Jacob Frey had stepped in to address the problem (“Mpls. lifts tax hurdle slowing riot cleanup”).

We’re in a moment in history where economic forces have undermined the viability of newspapers and other media. Maybe even more disturbingly, journalists and media institutions seem to be constantly disparaged and attacked by people on both ends of the political spectrum. Reporter Jeffrey Meitrodt’s work here was a timely reminder of how vital journalism is, not just to make us more informed citizens, but to get real results that help people and protect public health. Thank you to Meitrodt and to the Star Tribune!

Hannah Baxter, Minneapolis

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